Latvia

    Guidance

    1.1 Has any guidance already been issued in relation to Brexit, for example on residence or work permits in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

    Yes. On 21 March 2019 the ‘Law on Application of the Legal Framework after the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union’ was adopted.

    In accordance with the provisions of the Law, documents confirming the right to reside in Latvia, which had been issued to UK citizens and their family members up to 29 March 2019 will be valid until 31 December 2020 (unless the document’s validity period is shorter).

    Until 31 December 2020, UK citizens and their family members can apply for a new residence permit from the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA).

    UK citizens and their family members who have a document issued in Latvia confirming their right to reside (registration certificate, permanent residence card or residence permit) must submit an application in a free format with a copy of the valid travel document.

    UK citizens and their family members who do not have a document issued in Latvia confirming their right to reside must submit their application, attaching documents proving their employment, study or self-employment activities in Latvia for at least six months starting from 1 October 2018.

    Upon receipt of a new document confirming right to reside in Latvia, UK citizens, who lived in Latvia up to 29 March 2019, will continue to reside in Latvia in accordance with the procedure for residence for citizens of the Member States of the European Union. The same conditions will also apply to their family members who are already resident in Latvia, or who will join UK citizens after 29 March 2019.

    If UK citizens and their family members fail to submit an application for a new document confirming their right to reside in Latvia until 31 December 2020, their previously issued residence documents will be cancelled and their further stay in the Republic of Latvia will only be possible as third-country nationals in accordance with the Immigration Law.

    UK citizens who wish to enter Latvia after 31 March 2019 will be able to stay in Latvia as third-country nationals in accordance with the Immigration Law.

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    Business visas

    2.1 When UK employees become third-country nationals will they require a business visa?

    No, Regulation (EU) 2019/592 of 10 April 2019 exempts UK citizens from the requirement for a Schengen visa. It will apply from the day the UK is no longer subject to EU law. When it takes effect, UK citizens will be able to enter and stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

    The Schengen exemption will apply:

    • from Brexit date in the event of no deal;
    • from 1 January 2021 if the Withdrawal Agreement (‘WA’) is ratified under the WA, UK nationals keep their EU free movement rights until 31 December 2020).

    In Latvia, business visitors must generally limit their activities to the following:

    • attending internal meetings, discussions or conferences;
    • attending client meetings;
    • undertaking sales or marketing activities, such as making sales calls to potential clients, or negotiating a business deal or contract;
    • exploring business opportunities.

    Third country nationals coming to stay and work in Latvia require a visa and work permit. To stay and work in Latvia for more than 90 days requires a residence permit and work permit. 

    2.2 What documentation will be required for business travel on arrival at the border once UK citizens are considered third-country nationals?

    Travel documents (valid passport) with a validity of no more than ten years that is valid for at least three months after departure from Latvia.

    Proof of duration and purpose of stay as border control may ask additional questions concerning duration and purpose of stay.

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    Permission to work

    3.1 When UK citizens become third-country nationals will they need permission to work? 

    Yes, unless they can rely on an exemption such as:

    • holder of a permanent residence permit or a residence permit as a  long-term resident of the European Union in the Republic of Latvia;
    • holder of a temporary residence permit as the spouse of a Latvian citizen, a noncitizen of Latvia or a foreigner who has received a permanent residence permit;
    • holder of a temporary residence permit as a person who has been granted the status of a long-term EU resident in another EU member state, or as a family member of such person who has been staying in Latvia with a temporary residence permit and wishes to be employed in the Republic of Latvia;
    • holder of a temporary residence permit as a person who has made an investment in the equity capital of a capital company or as a family member of such a person;
    • holder of a temporary residence permit as a person who has purchased and who owns property in Latvia or as a family member of such a person;
    • holder of a temporary residence permit as a person who has made financial investments in a credit institution in the Republic of Latvia or as a family member of such a person;
    • holder of a temporary residence permit as a family member of a foreign national who has been granted a right to employment with a specific employer or the right to conduct commercial activities.
    • ‘Van Der Elst exemption’ (subject to conditions).

    3.2 If permission to work is needed do any quotas apply for employing third-country nationals?

    No

    3.3 If permission to work is needed, as of when will it be needed?

    Current status:

    • from 1 November 2019 in the event of no deal;
    • from 1 January 2021 (for new arrivals) if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified before 30 March 2019.

    3.4 If permission to work is needed, what are the most common categories?

    • residence permit with work authorisation;
    • EU Blue Card for highly skilled foreign nationals;

    (EU) ICT Permit for managers, specialists and trainees on intra-company transfer assignments to Latvia.

    3.5 If permission to work or stay is needed, how long does the procedure take?

    Generally, foreign nationals are able to start working 46 to 116 calendar days (for visa-exempt nationals) or 48-130 calendar days (for nationals who do require a visa) from when the residence permit with work authorisation process is initiated. Government processing can be expedited by paying urgency fees.

    It generally takes the government nine to 58 calendar days to process a residence permit with a work authorisation application from the date of filing:

    • seven to 30 calendar days for residence permit processing;
    • one to seven calendar days booking a consular appointment (for visa nationals);
    • one to seven calendar days for visa processing (for nationals who require a visa);
    • two to 14 calendar days for residence card processing.

    3.6 If permission to work or stay is needed, what Government fees would be due for this permission?​​​​​​​

    Government fees would be:

    • EUR 65 for approval of sponsorship (additional fees for dependents) for an individual;
    • EUR 100-400 for processing a residence permit with permission to work, depending on processing speed;
    • EUR 14.23-28.46 for residence card processing, depending on processing speed; or
    • EUR 60-120 for processing a visa with permission to work, depending on processing speed.
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    Permanent residence

    4.1 From when can third-country nationals obtain permanent residence?

    Five years of legal stay in Latvia (subject to conditions).

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    Residence Status

    5.1 What steps could UK nationals still take to secure their residence status?

    Currently (in the absence of any specific contingency rules):

    • Applying for a new type of EU residence card (and residence permit for non-EU family members) as soon as possible;
    • Applying for Latvian citizenship if conditions are met, but individuals should consider consequences before doing so;
    • Preparing documents for family reunification with an EU national if relevant.
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